The Model Railway Show – Episode 0026

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Niche pursuits

In this episode…

Alex Hristov, owner, TT Nut website.
Chris Lane, editor, HOn3 Annual.

Table Top Talk

Next time you’re at the hobby shop and you’re moaning about how the item you want isn’t in stock, think about Alex Hristov and his fellow modelers. They work in TT Scale – which, at 1:120, fits in between HO and N. TT was born, decades ago, in the United States but as HO won the war, TT was kept vibrant in, of all places, eastern Europe and Russia. Regardless, it’s a real wilderness for those like Alex who model North American prototypes.

But such modelers exist – and to help them connect, share techniques and offer general encouragement, Alex has created a website and forum for those who prefer the Table Top scale.

It’s called TT Nut. A quick look around will reveal inspirational modeling as well as links to a number of suppliers, such as the Gold Coast Railway Company and – until recently – Possum Valley Models.

Alex tells Jim about the impetus to create TT Nut, his experience using Shapeways to create product for TT enthusiasts, and how a Russian company is working to bring North American prototypes to market.

Related Links:

Proto 87

The 2011 HOn3 Annual

The 2011 edition of the HOn3 Annual is out, featuring some two-dozen articles about modeling narrow gauge in North America’s most popular scale.

The cover features a spectacular shot of the HOn3 layout built by the Slim Gauge Guild of Pasadena, California – and it certainly sets the tone for the third edition of this volume. As editor Chris Lane explains, the relatively small size of HOn3 equipment coupled with the huge variety of product available for modelers working in 1:87 is a sure-fire mix to create stunning layouts.

In conversation with Trevor, Chris notes that much has changed in HOn3 over the past three years, with new equipment from companies such as Blackstone Models injecting fresh enthusiasm into the scale/gauge combination.

Related Links:

The On30 Annual

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How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 26 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Jim talks to Paul Dolkos about photographing layouts.
Trevor speaks with Mike Brock about designing a layout worthy of the Big Boy.

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The Model Railway Show – Episode 0025

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The All-Digital One Year Anniversary Show!

In this episode…

Tom Barbalet, producer and host, Model Rail Radio.
Joe Fugate, publisher, Model Railroad Hobbyist.

Podcasting for everyone

Two years ago, Tom Barbalet created the very successful Model Rail Radio call-in show and podcast. But he’s no stranger to podcasting.

Tom joins Trevor to explain why he believes every model railway enthusiast can podcast, how he started in podcasting with a venture called Ape Reality, how a podcast about podcasting encouraged him to launch Model Rail Radio, why the MRR T-shirts are seen everywhere (including here), and why you might want to invest in one of these.

The future of model railway publishing

If anybody knows about creating a hobby magazine for the Internet age, it’s Joe Fugate.

Joe’s latest venture – Model Railroad Hobbyist – is an online “e-zine” that can be downloaded and read on a computer, tablet or smart phone. It’s been available – free – for almost three years now and has seen a steady increase in readership and advertisers.

Joe has been well-known in the hobby for many years as an innovator. His HO Southern Pacific Siskiyou Line layout popularized the Mushroom double-deck layout design, in which each deck faces a separate direction, so only one deck may be viewed at any time. And with Model Trains Video, he embraced the power of the moving picture as a way to teach fellow hobbyists about techniques ranging from construction to operation.

In conversation with Jim, Joe describes the birth and growth of Model Railroad Hobbyist and its power to pull various media together to enrich the traditional magazine experience. He also shares some of his plans for the future.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 25 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Trevor talks to Chris Lane about the 2011 HOn3 Annual.
Jim speaks with Alex Hristov about the state of TT Scale today.

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The Model Railway Show – Episode 0024

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What a difference eight years makes

In this episode…

Tim Warris, owner, Fast Tracks.
John Johnston, director, Canadian Association of Railway Modellers.

Hand-laying a business

It’s rare in this hobby, but sometimes an idea for one’s own layout can take your life in unexpected directions. Just ask Tim Warris.

Tim is the founder of Fast Tracks, a business devoted to helping hobbyists build better hand-laid track.

He speaks to Trevor about how the business started, including the role played by the CNJ’s Bronx Terminal, which he is now modeling in HO scale. He also describes some of the tools and materials Fast Tracks offers and sheds some light on what’s coming next for Fast Tracks.

Canadian crossroads

About the same time Tim Warris was launching Fast Tracks, The Canadian Association of Railway Modellers – CARM for short – was also born.

Established in 2003 by those who organized that year’s NMRA National Convention in Toronto, this organization’s goals include fostering fellowship among Canadian hobby enthusiasts, as well as those from elsewhere who model Canadian railways. CARM also aims to promote the hobby in Canada, and facilitate the exchange of ideas and skills.

Membership was strong in the early years but has since fallen off. One of the organization’s founders and a current director, John Johnston joins Jim to offer his thoughts on the challenges facing CARM and its future. There are many lessons for hobby associations of all sizes – especially those serving vast territories.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 24 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Trevor speaks with Tom Barbalet from Model Rail Radio about the power of podcasting.
Jim talks to Joe Fugate about electronic publishing and the hobby.

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The Model Railway Show – Episode 0023

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Model Railroading by Gaslight

In this episode…

Bernard Kempinski, layout builder, US Military Railroad.
Paul Scoles, layout builder, Pelican Bay Railway and Navigation Company.

Modeling a Railroad at War

Railroads have played an important role in warfare, moving soldiers and supplies to the front lines. But the relationship between railroads and conflict is rarely modeled.

For Bernard Kempinski, the combination was too interesting to pass up. He served as a US Army Captain, owner of Alkem Scale Models, and the author of several magazine articles as well as two books, Model Railroader’s Guide to Steel Mills and Mid-Size Track Plans for Realistic Layouts.

And he’s taken on a challenging – and – rewarding subject: The US Military Railroad in Virginia. Inspired by the fine O scale locomotive models available from SMR Trains, Bernard relies upon several sources for information, including the collection of Civil War Era glass negatives at the US Library of Congress, 19th Century railroad construction manuals available on Google Books, and a Yahoo Group dedicated to modeling Civil War railroads.

Bernard joins Trevor to discuss the challenges of researching a railroad that ran 150 years ago, as well as how one approaches the modeling of such emotionally-charged topics such as war and slavery.

19th Century Narrow Gauge

Author Paul Scoles is famous for his scenery work.

In November 2009 he started writing a series of scenery clinics for Railroad Model Craftsman magazine, inspired by The Skyline Limited – a well-known book on the Kaslo and Slocan Railway. Paul is also a regular contributor to the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette and he has produced a series of DVDs which he sells through his web site.

Paul’s work often features his beautiful Pelican Bay Railway and Navigation Company, an Sn3 layout set in Northern California in 1895. Those planning to attend the 2012 National Narrow Gauge Convention in Seattle, Washington will have an opportunity to see Paul’s layout in person.

In conversation with Jim, Paul explains that his model railroad reflects influences ranging from John Allen to Allen McClelland. He also describes the challenge of finding suitable 19th Century locomotives and how a New Zealand company (now with a U.S. distributor) came to the rescue.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 23 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Trevor speaks with Tim Warris about how a passion for track turned into a successful hobby business.
Jim talks to John Johnston about the Canadian Association of Railway Modellers.

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The Model Railway Show – Episode 0022

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Saying so long to two hobby professionals

In this episode…

Andy Sperandeo, Executive Editor, Model Railroader magazine.
Allen Keller, owner, Allen Keller Productions.

So long, Andy!

After more than three decades at Model Railroader magazine, Andy Sperandeo has retired.

Andy joins Jim to look back at his run as a key member of the largest model railway enthusiast magazine in North America and his plans for retirement.

Related Links:

Andy’s plan for the ATSF San Jacinto layout (as described by Byron Henderson)

Capping the lens

Earlier this year, Allen Keller also announced his decision to wind down his model railway video production company. Under the Great Model Railroads banner, Allen set the gold standard for video documentaries of some of the most famous layouts in the United States.

Allen joins Trevor to reflect on the layout video business, how it has changed over the past three decades, and the layouts that got away.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 22 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Trevor speaks with Bernard Kempinski about modeling a railroad set during the U.S. Civil War.
Jim talks to Paul Scoles about his late 19th century northern California narrow gauge line.

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The Model Railway Show – Episode 0021

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Changes

In this episode…

Joe D’Elia, organizer, The RPM Conference.
Brandon Bayer, president, H.O. Model Engineers Society.

The granddaddy of RPM meets

Railway Prototype Modelers meets. We’re big fans of them here at The Model Railway Show, and the big one – at least in our experience – has been the annual gathering at the end of October in Naperville, Illinois.

But if you’re heading for it this year, bring a map. The hotel traditionally used for this meet is undergoing renovations so the meet will be held in nearby Lisle.

That’s not the only change. For years, this gathering was organized by Sunshine Models, the maker of fine HO scale resin rolling stock kits. But Martin and Patricia Lofton are retiring and in 2010 RPM/Sunshine torch passed to Joe D’Elia, proprietor of A-Line/Proto Power West.

Joe is well known in RPM circles and already organizes a number of meets under the Railroad Prototype Modelers banner. He tells Trevor that this year’s meet may have a new name and a new venue, but regular attendees will find it’s the same great weekend it always has been.

Related Links:
(Note: We have included the most recent information we could find at airtime. If you have more current information, contact us with the details, including the web site, and we’ll update this list.)
Prototype Rails 2012 (Florida)
New England – Northeast Prototype Modelers Meet 2011 (Connecticut)
RPM Valley Forge 2012 (Pennsylvania)
Rocky Mountain RPM Meet 2012 (Colorado)
Mid Continent Prototype Modelers 2011 (Kansas)
Bay Area Prototype Modelers 2012 (California)
Savannah Prototype Modeler’s Meet 2011 (Georgia)
Central Ohio Prototype Modelers Meet 2011 (Ohio)
Rails By The River 2011 (Oregon)
Northeastern Fallen Flags Prototype Modelers Meet (New Jersey)

Eviction Notice!

Real estate is expensive these days and it’s harder to find homes for permanent club layouts. The basements of warehouses and underused structures that often housed them are being torn down or converted into loft condominiums. And urban sprawl means even suburban space is beyond the reach of many clubs.

Increasingly, we’re reading stories of clubs losing their leases. On October 29 and 30 this year, the Montreal Railroad Modellers Association will hold its last open house. Then, members will begin the painful process of tearing down the layout they’ve worked on for the past 38 years.

It’s a situation with which the members of the H.O. Model Engineers Society of Hamilton, Ontario are all too familiar. The H.O.M.E.S. Club has moved several times in recent history and has learned a few lessons. Club president Brandon Bayer joins Jim to offer some advice for others contemplating a large club layout.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 21 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Jim speaks with Andy Sperandeo about putting down the red editor’s pen and retiring from Model Railroader magazine.
Trevor talks to Allen Keller about rolling the final credits on his Great Model Railroads video production business.

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The Model Railway Show – Episode 0020

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Online resources

In this episode…

Stephen Priest, NMRA Online Archive.
Frank Giacobbe, N Scale Limited.

A new research tool for everyone

Model railway enthusiasts, collectively, have gathered a wealth of information about trains of all sizes and gauges. Photos, plans, paperwork and other artifacts – we all have them and it’s likely others could benefit from the knowledge they represent. The problem is, how do we share it?

The National Model Railroad Association has received donations of more than 100,000 railroad-related items over the past 60 years. And now, the NMRA has taken a vital step to ensure its storehouse of important data is available to everyone, by establishing the NMRA Online Archive. Visitors to the archive can browse for images and then pay a modest fee via PayPal to download a high-resolution version.

Jim speaks to ATSF Emporia Sub layout owner and NMRA Magazine editor/publisher Stephen Priest of Paired Rail Railroad Publications Ltd about the NMRA Online Archive. As one of the people instrumental in getting the Association’s data onto the web, Stephen notes that the archive not only makes the material available to everyone with an Internet connection: It also helps preserve the information for future generations.

Not just for N Scalers

For big ideas about small trains, N Scale Limited is a great place to go. But don’t let the name fool you. While much of the modelling on this web site and forum is done in 1:160, there are plenty of great techniques and resources that will benefit all modelers, regardless of scale.

This is especially true if you’re interested in big city modeling: From articles on correct details by era (answering such questions as “When did air conditioning appear in restaurants? and “When did TV switch to color broadcasting?”) and downloadable period signs, to in-depth multi-part articles on creating classic Deco-era skyscrapers, N Scale Limited is a great resource and source of inspiration.

Trevor speaks with co-founder Frank Giacobbe about how N Scale Limited came to be. Frank also offers his perspective on model railroading in 1:160.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 20 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Trevor speaks with Joe D’Elia about the upcoming RPM Conference in Lisle, Illinois.
Jim talks to the H.O. Model Engineers Society (H.O.M.E.S.) club president Brandon Bayer about what happens when a club loses its lease.

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The Model Railway Show – Episode 0019

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Summer Fun

In this episode…

Tag Gorton, editor, Garden Rail magazine.
Mark Koenig, Wilmington Railroad Museum.

200 issues and counting

Those who take their hobby outside know that Garden Rail magazine – a UK monthly covering all outdoor scales and gauges – recently celebrated its 200th issue.

But even as they mark this milestone, Garden Rail and its parent company, Atlantic Publishers, are planning for the next 200 issues – and the big changes affecting the magazine industry – by offering digital subscriptions that can be read on one’s computer or portable devices like the iPad.

Garden Rail editor Tag Gorton joins Trevor to discuss the magazine’s success, changes in the garden rail hobby over those 200 issues, and why digital subscriptions are a win-win for readers, publishers and advertisers. Tag also shares why he enjoys railroading in the garden.

April 23, 2011

That’s a day that will go down in the record books – at least for the members of the Wilmington Railroad Museum in North Carolina.

On that day, members connected 1,563 pieces of rolling stock to 31 locomotives. The resulting train – more than 925 feet long – chased its tail on a 1,000-foot-long oval in a bid to become a new Guinness World Record for the longest model train.

Were they successful? And how does one prepare for such a record breaking attempt? Jim asks his guest, Mark Koenig from the museum.

Related links:
Photos from the museum on our Flickr gallery.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 19 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Jim speaks with Stephen Priest from the National Model Railroad Association about the new NMRA Online Archive.
Trevor talks to Frank Giacobbe about the N Scale Limited website and forum.

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The Model Railway Show – Episode 0018

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The WOW factor

In this episode…

Mike Confalone, editor and publisher, Railroad Explorer magazine.
Boone Morrison, architect, photographer, Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette columnist.

A Railfan’s Layout

Mike Confalone is a life-long railfan. His passion prompted him to establish his own company, to publish Railroad Explorer magazine as well as a selection of high-quality railroad books.

But Mike is also a model railway enthusiast. Originally set in Vermont and featured in Model Railroad Planning 2007, Mike has now changed his railroad’s identity and moved it further east. The Allagash Railway now calls Maine home, and while freelanced it has been influenced by the Bangor & Aroostook, Maine Central and other lines serving the Pine Tree State. And, as his photos and, especially, his videos ably demonstrate, the HO Allagash Railway is one of the most inspiring New England-based layouts of all time.

Mike joins Trevor to describe how his railfanning experiences have influenced his freelanced railroad and his layout design.

Presentation Is Everything

First impressions are important. What first impression does your model railway present to your guests – particularly your friends who are not in the hobby?

Boone Morrison is a well-regarded model railway author. He has taken a sabbatical from his column for The Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette but his regular writings often included ideas about effective layout presentation – from layout lighting and backdrops to fascias, room lighting, and overall layout room environment.

Whether it’s a permanent, home layout or a portable production for the exhibition circuit, Boone has many great ideas for improving the story your layout tells – drawn from his experience as an architect, a professional photographer and a film director.

Boone joins Jim to offer presentation tips and techniques.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 18 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Trevor talks with Garden Rail editor Tag Gorton about an important milestone for this UK publication and how it’s embracing the digital future.
Jim speaks with Mark Koenig from the Wilmington, North Carolina Railroad Museum about an attempt to enter “The Guinness Book of World Records”.

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The Model Railway Show – Episode 0017a – Special Edition

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The NMRA National Convention and The National Train Show

In this episode…

Otto Vondrak, The Model Railway Show Creative Director

The National Model Railroad Association annual convention – this year called X2011 West and held in conjunction with The National Train Show – wraps up this weekend in Sacramento, California.

The Model Railway Show‘s Creative Director, Otto Vondrak, has been at the show as part of the Carstens Publications team, and joins Trevor to describe some of the highlights.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 17a (mp3)

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